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Friday, February 02, 2007

WOW, Heidi, look at this. Just when I think I am out here all alone and you are out there all alone, someone or many someones, restore my faith and give me something to hold onto.


Faith in troops, but not politicians
Mark P. Wylie

February 1, 2007

I read Kerri Drylie's "My Word" column on Tuesday -- "Bring Daughter Home from Afghanistan" -- with a great deal of sympathy, pride in her daughter's service and a personal understanding of her concerns.

Our son Nathaniel is a first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division brigade sent last month to replace her daughter's 10th Mountain Division brigade in Afghanistan. My wife and I went to Fort Bragg, N.C., to see him off, as we did in 2005 when he departed for Iraq.

I could not have been prouder of him and the men in his unit. They are all multiple volunteers. They volunteered to join the Army, volunteered for a combat-arms branch and volunteered for airborne service.

Most of the men in his unit (they are all men, as it is a front-line combat unit in which women are not yet allowed to serve) are under 40 and most (like our son) are under 30 years old. They have seen combat in Iraq or Afghanistan at least once, and several have been overseas many times.

They don't like the long separations from their families, but it's their job. They are America's professional soldiers.

Our son's unit trained for months to take over operations from 10th Mountain. A few weeks ago, they packed their gear and equipment, said their goodbyes and boarded a jet for the remote forward-operating base that was to be their home for the next 12 months.

Within hours of the 82nd's planned arrival, the new secretary of defense met with U.S. generals in the country and announced plans to extend her daughter's unit's mission in Afghanistan. So, like Drylie's daughter, his plans changed.

I know that while he is there "in harm's way," he will be with American soldiers in the finest military unit in the history of mankind. Since the days of recorded conflict, there has been no fighting machine that has had more training, more firepower, more technology and more motivation to see a war through to its one and only desired conclusion: defeating the enemy.

Military strategist Carl von Clausewitz astutely said that war is an extension of politics, and it will be a decision of the politicians, not the warriors, as to when our son and her daughter return home. Until that decision is made, I hope President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as our congressmen and senators, remain focused on the mission of our soldiers, and provide them with the resources and policies necessary to defeat the enemy wherever it is found.

This war against global terrorism is not one of America's choosing and will not be easily concluded. It is different in size and scope than any war ever fought. As American politicians respond to our restless society, I am increasingly less confident in our political leadership and its ability to plan to bring this war to a swift and sure end.

Until they return, I am full of confidence that Drylie's daughter and our son are up for the challenge that any enemy can throw at them, or any changes to their planning brought on by their military or political leadership. They are, after all, American professional soldiers.

Mark P. Wylie lives in Winter Park. He is the president of the Central Florida chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

Comments on Mr. Wylie's My Word:

We also thank Drylie's son, your daughter, and all of the brave men and women who are deployed to protect us. We will be forever grateful.

God Bless Our Troops.

Diane Pursley
Chief Security Officer


I humbly thank you and your family for your sacrifices. I cannot thank Drylie's daughter and your son enough for serving our country. They make us proud!

God Bless Our Troops!

J. Hoyt
Deltona, FL


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